Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Sophie Washington: Hurricane Review Tour

#Sophie Strong

A hurricane’s coming, and eleven-year-old Sophie Washington’s typical middle school life in the Houston, Texas suburbs is about to make a major change. One day she’s teasing her little brother, Cole, dodging classmate Nathan Jones’ wayward science lab frog and complaining about “braggamuffin” cheerleader Valentina Martinez, and the next, she and her family are fleeing for their lives to avoid dangerous flood waters. Finding a place to stay isn’t easy during the disaster, and the Washington’s get some surprise visitors when they finally do locate shelter. To add to the trouble, three members of the Washington family go missing during the storm, and new friends lose their home. In the middle of it all, Sophie learns to be grateful for what she has and that she is stronger than she ever imagined.

Ever since her BFF Maria Garcia moved a couple of weeks ago, Valentina’s been pushing her way into our friend group.  Her constant adding of Spanish words to every conversation makes me gag. I’m so irritated thinking about Valentina that I don’t pay attention to where I’m going.

“Watch out!”  

Nathan Jones, a boy I’ve known since fifth grade, zooms around the corner with a mason jar in his hand and clear plastic science goggles on his face. Nathan is wearing a white lab coat, and hopping in front of him is a ginormous gray-green frog.

“Eeeeek!” I scream in shock, unable to move.

“Grab him, Sophie!  I need that frog to finish my science experiment!!” Nathan calls.

Water sloshes out of the jar as Nathan and the frog get closer. Then he steps in the puddle and starts sliding. He’s running so fast that he can’t slow down. 

“Oh no!” I cower to avoid him, but as he swerves, Nathan dumps the water from the jar on my head.  We ram into each other, ending up in a jumbled heap on the floor then the frog leaps over us, croaks and heads down the stairway.


“That was hilarious!” laughs Valentina snapping a picture on her cellphone. “I can’t wait to post this.”

“Don’t you dare!” I struggle to my feet, and try to snag her phone, but she shuffles away.

“Look everybody!” she shrieks, skipping over to the growing group of kids.

I quickly glance at Nathan. “Are you OK?”

“Yeah, just bummed that Exhibit A of my experiment got away,” he says standing and rubbing his head. Nathan is one of the smartest kids in the sixth grade, and a good friend. He had surgery on his leg last year when a bully pushed him down in the hallway, so he is always careful not to injure it again.

My Review:
3.5 stars

This is the second book I’ve read in this series, and I enjoyed it. We learned more about Sophie and her family and friends, which I liked since I got to know several characters better from the first book. This made it easier to relate to Sophie’s struggles as her experiences and reactions were realistic, particularly her relationship with her younger brother.

I also liked how the author wove life lessons into the story organically. While some of the character lessons came across as preachy, she didn’t downplay the severity of hurricanes and addressed the potential consequences in a way you don’t always see in children’s books. This strengthened the story and made it shine.

My only problem with this book is that aspects of it came across as annoying. I found Valentina particularly annoying as she was the one character that seemed…fake. And some of the relationship between Sophie and her brother seemed forced to show sibling rivalry at times, which was odd to me as I greatly enjoyed their relationship in the first book.

Overall though, I enjoyed my second trip with Sophie and would recommend this book to anyone looking for a clean, wholesome read for your middle grader.

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*

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Don’t forget to visit the other stops on the tour.

Author Bio and Links:
Tonya Duncan Ellis was born and raised in Louisville, KY. She loves reading so much that as a child she took books with her everywhere. She knew she wanted to become a writer after an article she wrote was published in her hometown newspaper when she was a teen. Since then, Tonya has worked as a journalist and freelance magazine writer. She's an Amazon bestselling and award-winning author of the Sophie Washington children's book series, geared towards readers ages 8 to 12. The books recount adventures of Houston, TX preteen Sophie Washington and her diverse group of friends. Each funny and heartwarming story teaches lessons about friendship, responsibility, truthfulness and perseverance. Books in the series include Queen of the Bee, The Snitch, Things You Didn't Know About Sophie, The Gamer, Hurricane and Mission Costa Rica (Due to be released June 2018). When she's not writing, Tonya enjoys reading, biking, swimming, travel and spending time with her husband and three children. She lives in Houston, TX.

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